Devolver Digital reviews

Devolver Digital TRIPLE THREAT: Crossing Souls, Mother Russia Bleeds, and I Hate Running Backwards

Welcome to our first Devolver Triple Threat! These three great games each cost less than $15.

Crossing Souls

Crossing Souls is a story-driven action-adventure game set in the 1980s, starring Chris and his outcast group of friends. Each friend in the group fits an 80s archetype: the tomboyish girl, the nerd, the sporty dude, the little brother, and the “normal” dude. And each character has their own unique abilities. Get ready for tons of nostalgic references to 80s and 90s pop culture!

Can you feel the nostalgia?
Can you feel the nostalgia?

At the start of summer, Chris and his gang stumble upon a dead body and a mysterious pink stone, and they quickly discover that the stone lets them interact with the dimension of the dead. Chris and his friends begin a journey to unlock the stone’s mysterious secrets, solving puzzles and defeating foes along the way. Crossing Souls features challenges inspired by classic games, like Excitebike-style races and bullet-hell-style boss fights, and the challenges are varied enough to keep the game feeling fresh.

Crossing Souls features vibrant and detailed pixel graphics, and its cutscenes are executed in the visual style of a VHS cassette. These aesthetic choices result in a perfectly executed retro feel, which enhances the experience for players who appreciate the nostalgia factor. As you might expect, Crossing Souls also features a retro-inspired soundtrack and soundscape that makes you feel like you’ve time-traveled back to 1985. The game’s storytelling is also well-done and engrossing. We’d love to elaborate on story details, but we want to avoid spoilers, so if you really want to know what Crossing Souls is all about, you’ll just have to look elsewhere on the internet—or play the game!

The art style is a definite highlight of Crossing Souls.
The art style is a definite highlight of Crossing Souls.

Crossing Souls runs pretty well on the Switch, but there are a few bugs to point out. For example, later in the game, we sometimes found a certain cutscene being randomly skipped, and we had to restart the game from a previous save so that we could redo the section that triggers the cutscene. True, we could have just skipped the cutscene—but the cutscenes in Crossing Souls are so good that we put ourselves through this trouble to make sure we could see all of them! The cutscene bug wasn’t a big problem and it only happened once, but we thought it was worth mentioning.

While Crossing Souls isn’t our favorite Devolver Digital title available for $14.99 (that honor goes to Enter the Gungeon), we definitely enjoyed our time with this title, and we think it’s perfect for players looking for story-driven action with a seriously retro feel.

Platform – Nintendo Switch eShop Download
Publisher – Devolver Digital
Developer – Fourattic
Price – $14.99
Genre –Adventure, Action, Arcade
Size – 3.1 GB

 


Mother Russia Bleeds

Mother Russia Bleeds is set in an alt-history 1980s Russia.
Mother Russia Bleeds is set in an alt-history 1980s Russia.

Mother Russia Bleeds is a stylish side-scrolling beat-em-up game set in an alternate version 1980s Russia. As a beat-em-up, you’ll work your way through side-scrolling levels, taking on swarms of enemies in a variety of ways. You can use physical attacks, like melee combat, using various weapons scattered throughout the levels. You can also use a syringe on convulsing enemies, drawing out a serum that can be used later to refill health and/or go into “berserk mode.”

The pixel art in this gruesome beat-em-up is detailed and well-done. The combination of a dark art style and haunting sound design make for a uniquely dreary experience. And unlike many beat-em-ups, Mother Russia Bleeds actually features an engrossing story. Playing with friends makes the experience more enjoyable, but you can also have fun while flying solo. If you’re looking for a darker take on the beat-em-up genre with a good story, look no further than Mother Russia Bleeds.

Platform – Nintendo Switch eShop Download
Publisher – Devolver Digital
Developer – Le Cartel Studio
Price – $14.99
Genre –Action, Fighting, Arcade
Size – 3.2 GB

 


I Hate Running Backwards

I Hate Running Backwards is a roguelite arcade shooter featuring a huge cast of characters from the Devolver Digital universe blasting their way through scrolling levels. While most arcade shooters have you shooting upward at enemies, I Hate Running Backwards has you focused on shooting enemies who enter from the bottom of the screen while you run backwards towards the top of the screen. This means you have to focus on the enemies spawning from the bottom and the hazards and obstacles approaching from the top.

You run backwards, towards the top of the screen, while enemies approach from below.
You run backwards, towards the top of the screen, while enemies approach from below.You run backwards, towards the top of the screen, while enemies approach from below.

I Hate Running Backwards is all about unlocks and upgrades. You start out with a couple of characters, each with their own strengths, weaknesses, starting gun, and special gun. As you play, you can swap between guns, but lots of guns have to be unlocked before use. A lot of the unlocking is organic and natural, but some unlockables are tougher to achieve than others. Throughout each run, you can gather gold by killing enemies, smashing your environment, and locating gold chests. When you have enough gold, you’ll be prompted with three random upgrades, like extra health or additional ammo. It’s your job to experiment with these upgrades and decide what suits your unique playstyle.

I Hate Running Backwards is a fun experience, but since there are only five levels on offer—each with a unique boss—some players might argue the game doesn’t offer enough content. Even though gameplay can feel repetitive, we found that there are lots of ways in which this game stays fresh. As with any roguelite, it takes practice to master each level and its boss, but if you find yourself mastering the game quickly, you can always adjust the level of difficulty. Exploring the game’s cast of characters can also keep things fresh, since each character plays differently, and playing around with the different unlockable weapons will also help to mix things up. I Hate Running Backwards is a great “pick up and play” game that’s easy to get into, especially if you are a fan of Devolver characters and have a second player to join in on the fun!

Platform – Nintendo Switch eShop Download
Publisher – Devolver Digital
Developer – Binx Interactive
Price – $14.99
Genre –Arcade, Action, Party
Size – 1.4 GB

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